It’s a number most sports fan would equate with former New York Yankee Roger Maris‘ pre-steroids single-season home run mark. But 61 is also an iconic figure in the tennis world. It’s the standard for career doubles titles set by Hall of Famers Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge.
But The Woodies are no longer alone at the top. On Sunday, their protégés, the Bryan Bros., reached that hallowed record with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic in the Madrid Masters final.
Appearing in their 99th ATP Tour-level final, Bob and Mike put themselves side by side with the Aussie duo, with a chance to eclipse the mark at Roland Garros.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there to get that 62, but it would be more special at a Grand Slam,” said Bob Bryan, with the French Open but a week away. “We’re just really happy to win this one right now against such a great team — one of our rivals of the past three years. It feels awesome to share a record with The Woodies. Those guys were our idols. We were lucky to grow up when they were at their best and we learned a lot from them. They played a beautiful game of doubles. To be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys is everything to us. It’s what makes number 61 so special.”
“The Woodies were fantastic,” echoed Mike Bryan. “They have a lot of records. It’s nice to share one with them. But you can’t compare it. We’re totally different teams. They played a beautiful brand of doubles. They didn’t have the big serves, but they were so smart out there. We’ve learned a lot of things from them about poaching. They had a better finals record; when they got to a finals match they usually won it. They were clutch players. They’re great guys. Too. Fantastic players and even better guys off the court.”
By virtue of earning 1,000 ATP points, the Bryans have climbed back to No. 1 in rankings. They were crowned ATP Tour champs last year as they finished atop the rankings for the fifth time after a victory at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.